2012 – tablets and smartphones hog the limelight

Mobile devices continue to grab the attention of consumers and enterprises in 2012. Every launch of a new smartphone and tablet, in particular if the brands relate to Apple or Samsung, is keenly followed.

And Google is getting its fair share of attention too with the Nexus 7 giving the iPad competition in the tablet space, and the Nexus 4 smartphone sold out as quickly as iPhones.

The insatiable appetite for tablets and smartphones may just spell the end for single-trick devices, such as the GPS and even digital cameras, especially entry level versions.

It would be interesting to see how 2013 pans out. CES may well set the tone for the coming year.

 

hybris announces first commerce solution specifically designed for telcos

hybrishybris has announced the industry’s only commerce solution specifically designed to help carriers sell more phones, plans and value-added services on the web and in the store. The new hybris Telco Accelerator comes bundled with the industry acclaimed hybris Commerce Suite and includes capabilities aimed at helping carriers launch fully functional wireless phone commerce experiences that drive higher average revenue per user (ARPU) in as little as three to four months.

“hybris has long been recognised as offering the best multi-channel user experience for selling anything online” according to Ariel Ludi, CEO of hybris. “Now, the hybris Telco Accelerator makes it much easier and faster for wireless carriers to implement a feature-rich commerce solution specifically designed to deliver a rich shopping experience for their customers regardless of channel.”

hybris Telco Accelerator includes the rich set of B2B and B2C commerce functionality rated by both major IT analyst firms as “leader” and among the top 2 or 3 general-purpose commerce platforms in the world – and now tailored for telcos.

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ZTE introduces dual-mode Grand Era LTE smartphone in Hong Kong

ZTE has introduced its first dual-mode LTE smartphone, the Grand Era LTE, in Hong Kong as part of the launch of China Mobile Hong Kong (CMHK)’s first commercial converged TD-LTE/LTE FDD network.

The TDD/FDD dual-mode ZTE Grand Era LTE smartphone operates on the Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich platform.  It features a 1.5GHz dual core CPU, 1GB of memory and a multi-touch 4.5-inch 1280×720 Gorilla Glass display providing a high quality user experience on high-speed LTE networks.  The device also has a 1780mAh battery and ZTE’s customisable Mifavor User Interface.

In addition, ZTE will showcase its FDD/TDD dual-mode MF93E uFi device and the MF825 data card on the new Hong Kong network. Both devices use Qualcomm’s MDM9215 second-generation LTE chip platform.  The size and average power consumption of the MF93E and the MF 825 have been reduced by nearly a third compared to the first generation LTE devices making them smaller and faster.

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ZTE Grand X with Jelly Bean makes world debut in Indonesia

ZTE has officially introduced the ZTE Grand X with Jelly Bean, its latest smartphone with Android 4.1.1 operating system, in Indonesia.

The ZTE Grand X Indonesia launch was the world’s first ever commercial launch of a ZTE Jelly Bean-based smartphone.
 
The Grand X’s design was inspired by sport cars. The phone has a 1GHz dual-core processor and an IPS panel 4.3-inch screen with QHD (960×540 pixel) resolution. The display delivers better, natural colours compared to AMOLED screens. Furthermore, users can enjoy songs and movies in maximum clarity, thanks to the Grand X’s Dolby ProLogic plus SRS Audio technology.
 
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China Mobile Hong Kong launches world’s first converged TD-LTE/LTE FDD network

The start of Hong Kong’s first TD-LTE/FDD LTE converged network ushered in a new age in the city’s 4G telecommunications market, and unleashed vital impetus to propel the development of TD-LTE services globally.

Chairman of China Mobile Hong Kong, Tiger Lin, Director and Chief Executive Officer, Sean Lee, and ZTE Vice President Zhang Jianguo officiated at a large-scale press conference in Hong Kong today to introduce the new service. Live demonstrations showcasing the high-speed data download capabilities of TD-LTE and LTE FDD networks and the seamless hand-over between TD-LTE and FDD LTE networks for online video transmission were conducted at the event.

China Mobile Hong Kong, a wholly-owned subsidiary of China Mobile, acquired spectrum in the 2330MHz-2360MHz band for TD-LTE services in February 2012. On July 19, it announced a partnership with ZTE and Ericsson for the construction of the TD-LTE network offering dual-mode connectivity with existing FDD LTE services, giving subscribers a higher-quality 4G user experience and a more robust service.

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Smartphones sport up to 19 sensors

Most of us are aware that smartphones have numerous sensors that, well, help to make them smart. But, most believe the number of sensors to be around six to eight. At a presentation at SIGGRAPH Asia 2012 in Singapore, Neil Trevett, Vice President of Mobile Content of NVIDIA, revealed that smartphones sport up to 19 sensors.

He noted that a lot of development that leverages the combined capabilities of these sensors is happening with today’s devices.

Phone sensors

ITU accepts ZTE’s GoTa digital trunking standard

ITUThe GoTa (Global open Trunking architecture) digital trunking standard submitted by China was accepted by the ITU (International Telecommunications Union) report on the ITU conference in Geneva, marking another breakthrough in the field of communications standards for Chinese technology developers.

Now the digital trunking standard for the next generation, GoTa was jointly developed by ZTE and Chinese national research departments. A digital trunking system is a mobile communications network – using network-specific handsets communicating over a network just like a mobile phone system – that provides group scheduling command and communications with a high degree of security. It has been widely used by government organisations to provide scheduling and security for events such as Olympic Games, National Games, the European Cup and other major sporting events, as well as in public security, fire, ports, logistics, construction, transportation, forestry, rental, factories, and enterprises as well as for individual requirements.

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GSMA elects new board

Franco BernabeGSMA has elected new board members for the two-year period from January 2013 through December 2014. It also has re-elected Franco Bernabè, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Telecom Italia Group, as its Chairman, and Jon Fredrik Baksaas, President and CEO, Telenor Group as its Deputy Chairman, for a second term in these roles.

Bernabè has served as GSMA Chairman since January 2011, overseeing the strategic direction of the organisation, which represents nearly 800 of the world’s mobile operators, as well as more than 230 companies in the broader mobile ecosystem. Baksaas has also served as Deputy Chairman since January 2011.

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NVIDIA receives US$20m DARPA contract for high-performance embedded processor research

NVIDIANVIDIA has been awarded a contract worth up to $20 million from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to research embedded processor technologies that could lead to dramatic improvements in the ability of autonomous vehicles to collect and process data from on-board sensors.

DARPA is the US Defense Department’s research and development arm. The five-year contract, awarded under DARPA’s Power Efficiency Revolution For Embedded Computing Technologies (PERFECT) program, will fund research for processors that are 75-times more energy efficient than current embedded solutions. The goal is to enable surveillance and computer vision systems in ground and airborne vehicles to collect and analyze vastly more data than can be processed today in real time.

Existing embedded processors deliver about 1 gigaflops of performance (1 billion floating point operations each second) per watt. The NVIDIA programme, known as Project Osprey, will research low-power circuits and extremely efficient architectures and programming systems that enable 75 gigaflops per watt, using process technologies as advanced as 7 nanometre (nm) compared with today’s 28-nm process.

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NetApp supports Amazon Web Services Direct Connect with private storage solution

NetAppThe new NetApp Private Storage for Amazon Web Services (AWS) is an enterprise storage solution that utilises AWS Direct Connect to provide customers the ability to establish a dedicated network connection from their existing infrastructure to AWS.

With this offering, organisations can now replicate data from on-premise NetApp storage environments to NetApp Private Storage in an AWS Direct Connect facility to leverage on-demand cloud services. NetApp Private Storage for AWS allows enterprises to build an agile cloud infrastructure that balances internal datacenter resources along with AWS cloud resources to best meet their business needs.

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Gartner’s Top 5 IT predictions for China in 2013 and beyond

GartnerGartner has published its top five IT predictions for China in 2013 and beyond, as China’s IT market undergoes major transformation, especially in cloud and mobility. Analysts said that although China’s IT market has similarities with the global IT market, it also faces challenges and opportunities that are very specific to the Chinese marketplace.

Enterprise spending on IT in China is forecast to grow from US$117.8 billion in 2013 to reach $172.4 billion in 2016, representing a compound annual growth rate of 8 percent, compared to a global growth rate of 3 percent over the same period, according to Gartner.

“In common with many emerging markets, cloud and mobile initiatives are hot and enterprises are also making progress in adopting virtualisation technologies, a key stepping stone in the journey to cloud,” said Matthew Cheung, principal research analyst at Gartner. “Without the legacy systems that hamper many western enterprises, Chinese organisations have an opportunity to leapfrog in the adoption of new technologies. However, the current hype around cloud could also result in its failure to live up to market expectation in a few years time. In mobility, China is a market characterised by strong local flavors, especially in the fast growing smartphone and tablet markets.”

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Gartner predictions for IT organisations and users for 2013 and beyond

GartnerGartner has revealed its top predictions for IT organisations and IT users for 2013 and beyond.

Gartner’s top predictions focus on economic risks, opportunities and innovations that will impel CIOs to move to the next generation of business-driven solutions. Selected from across Gartner’s research areas as the most compelling and critical predictions, they address the trends and topics that underline the reduction of control that IT has over the forces that affect it.

“The priorities of CEOs must be dealt with by CIOs who exist in a still-turbulent economy and increasingly uncertain technology future,” said Daryl Plummer, Managing Vice President and Gartner Fellow. “As consumerisation takes hold and the Nexus of Forces drives CEOs to certain expectations, CIOs must still provide reliability, serviceability and availability of systems and services. Their priorities must span multiple areas. As the world of IT moves forward, it is finding that it must coordinate activities in a much wider scope than it once controlled, and as a result, a loss of control echoes through several predictions we are making.”

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IDA fines telcos for not meeting outdoor coverage standards

Mobile users in Singapore have been lamenting about poor 3G reception and dropped calls for a while. A check by the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) has confirmed that all three telcos fell short of meeting outdoor coverage standards.

M1, SingTel Mobile and StarHub Mobile have been fined S$10,000 each for failing to comply with IDA’s Quality of Service (QoS) standard for nation-wide outdoor areas for 3G mobile telephone services.

The results of the joint survey showed that the nation-wide outdoor service coverage for all three mobile operators was below the QoS standard of at least 99 percent, even though they performed well in providing general mobile coverage. Their respective performances were weaker at newly included testing areas such as housing estates/town centres, outdoor recreational areas, and above ground MRT tracks.

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ZTE launches one-key upgrade

ZTEThe new solution will help operators overcome technical and time constraints during the traditional core network upgrade process, improving network efficiency by 50 percent. It marks a new era in automatic core network operations and maintenance.

The one-key upgrade solution enables remote and automatic mass operations for telecommunications operators. It also minimises operational failure brought by traditional manual operations and optimises work efficiency during the network upgrade process, saving cost on time and staffing. The new solution will be commercialised globally soon.

“This new solution is a significant step forward for intelligent network upgrades,” said Liu Jianhua, Core Network Product Line Manager of ZTE. With this one-key upgrade, we can help operators solve operations and maintenance costs and increase efficiency.”

 

ZTE secures US$20b financing to achieve Top 3 target

ZTEUnder a new financing agreement,  China Development Bank (CDB) will expand its financing facility for ZTE to US$20 billion. In 2005, CDB and ZTE began their strategic cooperation based on international standard practices, agreeing a facility of US$8 billion. In 2009, the facility was increased to US$15 billion.

The prevailing conditions in the global finance offer new opportunities for CDB and ZTE to deepen their cooperation – CDB will utilise its strengths in integrated financial services to help ZTE achieve its strategic goals, and drive ZTE’s overseas investment and business development in priority sectors

“ZTE will leverage the CDB’s financial support and grasp the opportunities in the markets for 4G, fixed broadband, enterprise networks and terminals, consolidate our advantages and migrate to the higher value solutions, as we aim to achieve a global top-3 position before 2015,” said Hou Weigui, Chairman of ZTE.

 

Copyright hindering democratisation of 3D

Gavin Greenwalt: Copyright owners own the right to models of their products
Gavin Greenwalt: Copyright owners own the right to models of their products

Increasing power of GPUs is enabling designers to create 3D models quicker and in greater detail. Such additional details may include specific models of cars, cameras or other products instead of just generic models. This should pave the way towards democratisation of 3D.

However, a major barrier can halt this progress.

While creating a specific product is now easier, using that created model may be a challenge. Standing in the way are copyright laws and more importantly, copyright owners.

“Copyright owners own the right to models of their products. They can decide whether users can use or should remove 3D models of their products. Users need to seek permission to use such models,” said Gavin Greenwalt, Senior Artist of Straightface Studios.

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Khronos updates OpenCL 1.2 specification

khronos-group-logoThe Knronos Group has announced the ratification and public release of an update to the OpenCL 1.2 specification, the open, royalty-free standard for cross-platform, parallel programming of modern processors. This backwards compatible version updates the core OpenCL 1.2 specification with bug fixes and clarifications and defines additional optional extensions for enhanced performance, functionality and robustness for parallel programming on a wide variety of platforms. Optional extensions are not required to be supported by a conformant OpenCL implementation, but are expected to be widely available; they define functionality that is likely to move into the required feature set in a future revision of the OpenCL specification. The updated OpenCL 1.2 specifications, together with online reference pages and reference cards, are available at www.khronos.org/opencl/.

“The OpenCL working group continues to listen closely to the demands of the developer community, and this update provides a timely increase in functionality and reliability of code ported across vendor implementations,” said Neil Trevett, chair of the OpenCL working group, president of the Khronos Group and vice president of mobile content at NVIDIA. “The new extensions enable early access to functionality for key use cases, including security capabilities for implementations of WebCL that enable access to OpenCL within a browser.”

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Gartner: Worldwide server shipments up 3.6%, revenue down 2.8%

GartnerIn the third quarter of 2012 worldwide server shipments grew 3.6 percent year-on-year, while revenue decreased 2.8 from the third quarter of 2011, according to Gartner, Inc.

“The third quarter of 2012 again produced shipment growth on a worldwide level, but server revenue was weak due to ongoing economic weakness and market segment differences,” said Jeffrey Hewitt, research vice president at Gartner. “Only the North America and Asia/Pacific regions managed any revenue growth, and even those were essentially flat year to year, with North America showing a 1.1 percent increase and Asia/Pacific a 0.7 percent increase. The picture in terms of shipments was slightly more positive with North America, Latin America and Asia/Pacific all growing, but both EMEA and Japan continue to struggle and both saw shipments contract, compared to the same period last year.”

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